4 Surprising Uses of Annatto Seeds Across Cultures

Annatto is a wonderful herb, native to parts of Central and South America, many Caribbean islands, and South Asia. Bixa Orlena is often used as a key ingredient in many cultures for cooking, medicinal, artistic, and aesthetic purposes.

Loaded with carotenoids, it has a prominent, wonderfully bright red-orange color. Unmistakable in its appearance, these seeds are used in various forms across different indigenous cultures.

In fact, even across the world, 70% of food pigments are derived from this herb because it’s safe to consume and ingest. But beyond its color, what are the other benefits does this seed offer?

1. Ancient Cultures Used It As A Dye.

Incas, Mayans, Aztecs, and native Amazonians are known to have used annatto to create body dyes and art that held cultural and communal significance. Body art has been a form of expression while doubling as a protective agent. Paste from the annatto seeds may help protect the skin from sun damage and burns.

Eventually, the seeds were exported to other parts of the world, including Europe and the Philippines, through colonial conquests and efforts. It was adapted for other purposes, including modern versions of hair dyes, etc.

2. It’s A Culinary Essential

As it often happens with herbs, seeds, roots, and spices, different cultures adapt them to their use in different ways. While some, such as the Caribbean and Latin American cultures, rely on it as mild spice, Jamaican folk use it in flavoring seafood, and the world over, the food industry relies on it as a flavoring and for its pigmentation.

Many of your favorite chocolates and other snacks include annatto seeds or extract to enhance color.

3. Might Help With Fluid Retention And Heartburn

Given the many unhealthy foods in our diets, it’s unsurprising that high amounts of sodium, spices, and other ingredients can lead to fluid retention and heartburn. Ancient and present-day indigenous cultures have relied on the use of annatto in its different forms to relieve heartburn and bloating, as well as fluid retention.

It’s also loaded with fiber, alongside other parts of the plant which are edible and usable. These are important for aiding with digestion and gut health, on the whole, making for a wonderful addition to your diet.

4. Antimicrobial, Antioxidant And Anti-Inflammatory Properties

This seed is rich in various properties that make it incredibly beneficial to your health. Acting as an antimicrobial agent, it helps prevent illness caused by bacteria and pathogens that may exist in your system. The antimicrobial power is precisely why it’s also used as a preservative in many foods.

The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties help fight off free radicals, heal wounds, and promote health. The antioxidant compounds are powerful enough to hold anticancer potential and improve ocular and skin health.

It’s also incredibly versatile in its applications, allowing you to take it orally in the form of powders, pastes, herbal supplements such as those in our range, and applied topically. However, it may not always be as effective.

While there is still room for more scientific research, annatto’s benefits have long been established by other cultures. While not a replacement or alternative to actual medical treatments, these benefits may enhance your health in various ways. Place an order for our natural supplements online through our website.

Disclaimer: Bixahuman’s products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or health condition. Any information discussed in this piece is not a replacement for professional medical advice. Please consult your doctor or physician for medical concerns and treatment options.

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